I’m sure you’ve heard the general sentiments that older children are bossy, younger children are spoiled, only children are slightly strange and middle children are quiet. But how valid are these identities and where do these ideas even come from?
I’m sure that whether you are an only child or have a sibling, you’re likely to understand the struggles that come with being yourself. In my case, as a younger sibling, I have my own place in my family and expectations to meet that often differ from my sister who is older than me. That being said, just because I have a different experience than my sister, doesn’t mean either one of our experiences are less valid or our personalities are less interesting. We are the way we are and I couldn’t imagine it any other way!
When it comes to my friends and peers, I’ve seen how some older children tend to be more of a perfectionist or a responsible child and younger kids are louder or more carefree. Although this is something that we might think of as just an aspect of one’s personality, it’s interesting to see how people can differ depending on their situation. For instance, an older child might seem quieter at home, but at work or with friends, they are very talkative. Similarly, a younger child might be the most carefree in their house, but in academic settings, they are perfectionists.
Although our personalities may adjust depending on who we are with, and they could have been shaped by the place we hold in our family, I do think that your personality isn’t something set in stone. For instance, when I was really young, I used to be incredibly shy- so much so that I wouldn’t let others take pictures of me because I didn’t like the attention. However, if you were to ask anyone who’s met me, or even if you’ve read any of my articles, you can probably tell that I like to talk a lot. In other words, my personality changed as I grew up. Similarly, I have friends who have had similar experiences. Many of them were either not as talkative or maybe doubtful of their abilities as an individual, but they were able to grow and expand from that version of themselves.
Maybe birth orders do have an effect on some of our personalities, but even if they do, I don’t think that’s the be-all-end-all. If every person was the exact same, we would live in a pretty boring world. One thing that we should stop doing is trying to put people in a box based on the order that they were born in. In other words, yes, I’m a younger sibling, but I’m definitely not spoiled!